Broasted Lamb Shanks

Broasted lamb shanks with white beans and kale

Broasted lamb shanks with white beans and kale

Lamb shanks are one of my son, Patrick’s favorite meals. I call my method broasting because I braise them uncovered which allows the shanks to brown. I find it impossible to get them browned all over in a skillet prior to cooking, so this is my solution. You will need to turn the shanks a couple of times and keep an eye on the broth level. I serve them with cannellini beans and mushrooms, a classic combo with lamb for good reason.

Broasted Lamb Shanks

4 lamb shanks 1 1/4- 1 1/2 pound each

2 Tablespoons olive oil

3 shallots thinly sliced

2 celery stalks chopped

2 carrots chopped

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

2 cloves garlic sliced thin

1 Tablespoon minced rosemary

1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard

1/2 cup dry red wine

2-3 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1. In a Dutch oven over medium heat wilt the shallots, celery and carrot in the olive oil.

2.Stir in tomato paste, garlic, rosemary and mustard till fragrant.

3. Raise the temp to high and add wine, reduce to about 2 Tablespoons.

4. Add broth and bring to boil. Add the shanks.

5. Cook in oven uncovered for 2-2 1/2 hours turning the shanks 2-3 times to brown.

6. You may cover the shanks with foil on a platter and reduce the broth to a sauce consistency.

Serve with polenta, mashed potatoes or white beans and the sauce.

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Curried Split Pea Soup

Curried Split Pea Soup

Curried Split Pea Soup

This is a great soup. Spicy and rich tasting but low in calories. Easy to make too. It can be made thick and served as a dal over rice. Use more or less curry powder depending on taste. I like it with naan, I get frozen at the grocery store. It heats in a minute or two.

Curried Split Pea Soup

2 Tablespoons unsalted butter

1 onion chopped

2-3 garlic cloves minced

1 Tablespoon ground cumin

2-3 Tablespoons curry powder

1 Serrano chili seeded and minced

2 cups split peas

4 cups chicken stock

1-2 handfuls baby spinach

lemon quarters

1. Sauté the onions in the butter in a Dutch oven until wilted. Add the garlic, cumin, curry powder and Serrano stirring till fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Stir in the split peas and chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer for 35-35 minutes so peas are cooked.

3. Blend to desired consistency with an immersion blender, adding water if needed.

4. Stir in spinach. Serve when the spinach is wilted. Garnish with lemon.

Short Ribs

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Short Ribs and Mashed Potatoes

Short ribs are one of my all time favorite meals. Not only are they rich and satisfying but it is close to impossible to have them not turn out. The short rib is a fatty tough piece of meat on the bone. However cook them low and slow with a bit of liquid (braise) and the fat melts through the meat into an unctuous, deep,  beefy, fall off the bone richness that cannot be beat. Here I serve them with mashed potatoes to soak up the sauce but polenta or noodles work beautifully also!

 

Short Ribs

Short ribs 1-2 meaty ribs per person

1 onion chopped

2 carrots chopped

3 stalks of celery chopped

1 Tablespoon cumin

Sprig of thyme

2 bay leaves

2 Tablespoons tomato paste

2-4 cups beef broth

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1. Brown the short ribs on all sides in a Dutch oven. Work in batches. Reserve.

2. Add onions, celery and carrots to pan over medium heat. Just sweat do not brown.

3. Add cumin, thyme, bay leaves and tomato paste. Stir until tomato paste turns a rusty color, 1-2 minutes.

4. Deglaze with 1/2 cup of broth. Reduce to 2 Tablespoons.

5. Add ribs and the 2 cups of broth. Bring to a boil. The both should come bout half way up the ribs.

6. Cover and put in the oven. Bake 2 hours, checking occasionally to add broth if needed.

7. Remove the ribs to a plate and cover with foil.

8. Bring the broth to a boil and reduce. Use a immersion blender to blend to a nice saucy consistency. Serve the sauce with the ribs.

Chili

Chili

Chili

I make a number of different chilies. This is my most basic go to recipe. This chili is brothy with a deep and rich flavor. I use fresh poblanoes and a jalapeño or two, depending how spicy they are. Cumin is a must. I used black beans and pintos today but use whatever beans are in your pantry. Top with a slice of lime and some cilantro to brighten things up. Things don’t get much better!

Chili

1 pound ground chuck

One Tablespoon each cumin, dried oregano and coriander

1 large onion chopped

2 poblanos chopped

1-2 jalapenos seedied and minced

2 garlic cloves minced

1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes

1 quart good beef stock

1 15ounce can each black beans and pinto beans

1 lime sliced

1 bunch cilantro

1. Brown meat in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Stir in cumin, oregano, coriander and salt and pepper. Remove to a dish.

2. Sauté onion, poblano and jalapeno till wilted. Stir in garlic till fragrant.

3. Stir in tomatoes, meat and stock. Raise heat to bring to a boil.

4. Lower heat to a simmer. Stir in beans. You may simmer for 1-2 hours. 1 hour will give you a fresh bright chili. 2 hours will give you a deep rich chili. Both are great!

5. Garnish each serving with a slice of lime and some cilantro.

Orange Rosemary Chicken

Orange Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Green Beans

Orange Rosemary Chicken with Roasted Green Beans

So easy and so yummy. You can cook for one person or a crowd. My recipe assumes a large (over one pound) boneless, skin on chicken breast for two people. There would be no problem doubling, tripling  or more the recipe. We find about one half pound per person is good but I would allow extra if I was entertaining. I served the orange rosemary chicken with simple roasted green beans. Green beans cleaned and trimmed, tossed with some olive oil salt and pepper. 400 degree oven about 20 minutes. All done!

Orange Rosemary Chicken

1 skin on, boneless chicken breast about 1-11/4 pounds

1 Tablespoon unsalted butter

zest of 1/2 orange

11/2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. In a small bowl mix butter, orange zest, rosemary and salt and pepper.

2. Put mixture under the skin of the chicken breast.

3. Bake 45 minutes. Let rest 5-10 minutes. Slice and serve.

MP’s Meatloaf

Great Meatloaf

Great Meatloaf

Meatloaf is not sexy. I never really liked meatloaf. It made sense when we had growing boys to feed, as it fit in the budget easily. Then at some point in the 90s diner food got popular and I felt guilty for not being wild about meatloaf. When I made it the loaf would fall apart when sliced. It only tasted OK. I let my husband make it and he did a good job!

I decided to make a good, no a great meatloaf. This is what I came up with. I like it a lot! I hope you do too.

Meatloaf and roasted potatoes

Meatloaf and roasted potatoes

MP's Meatloaf

2 cups diced firm bread

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 pound ground pork

3/4 pound ground chuck

2 shallots minced

2 cloves garlic minced

1 teaspoon each salt and pepper

1 cup ketchup

1 egg beaten

Sauce:

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup ketchup

1 Tablespoon grainy mustard

3-4 slices applewood bacon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

1. in a small bowl soak bread in cream for about 30 minutes.

2. In a large bowl gently combine bread and cream with next 6 ingredients. Pat firmly into meatloaf/bread pan leaving space between loaf and pan.

3. Combine brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup and mustard in small bowl. Spread this sauce over meatloaf. Top with bacon.

4. Bake 1 1/2 hour. Let rest 5 minutes then remove from pan. Cover with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Slice and serve. The resting is important if you want the meatloaf to slice neatly.